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Watching people’s struggles with weight loss on the internet is a kind of guilty pleasure for me. Guilty, because it’s somewhat of a waste of time. These contents don’t bring me any tangible benefits, so why do I indulge in them? Nevertheless, it’s a pleasure because this topic will always remain close to me. I see my old self in these people, and I’m consistently fascinated by the reciprocal relationship between eating and the psyche. Many people fighting with their weight wonder “why can’t I lose weight,” and I have some new thoughts in this area that I’ve decided to share.

I recently watched a video of an obese woman who wears a mask of beauty, strength, and independence in her daily life. She tries to find a partner, but she says that men are not interested in her because of her weight.

At the same time, she claims that she eats properly and exercises regularly, not understanding why she can’t lose weight. Something doesn’t add up here.

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Is it possible for someone to do the right things and not see results? In essence… yes, because it’s a big, often emotionally simplified statement, and as it often happens, the devil is in the details. Let’s talk about them.

Unusual reasons for lack of results

In a nutshell, weight loss is regulated by well-known, fundamental physical and biochemical processes that don’t work selectively – they follow established rules.

Therefore, statements like “I follow the rules, but I don’t see results” can be problematic because they suggest that there’s something wrong with those rules. At the same time, it should be acknowledged that rare exceptions do occur. Among the reasons why you may not be able to lose weight are:

  • Diseases that can affect appetite, metabolism, or energy expenditure. The occurrence of Whipple’s disease is estimated at one in a million. Cushing’s syndrome may affect 40-70 million people globally.
  • Medications that can lead to excessive weight gain or difficulties in weight loss.
  • Genetic factors that can affect metabolism, fat deposition, and hunger regulation. Prader-Willi syndrome may affect 1-9 out of 100,000 people. Bardet-Biedl syndrome may affect 1-5 out of 100,000 people.
  • Emotional and psychological factors (stress, trauma) that can trigger eating disorders, which in turn can lead to weight dysregulation.
  • Metabolic disorders that can affect the ability to properly store or utilize fat. It should be noted that these disorders largely result from the consumption of high-calorie, low-fiber foods and a lack of physical activity, rather than external factors.

If you have officially been diagnosed with any of the aforementioned conditions, your complaints about the failures related to weight loss attempts become somewhat justified. However, it does not mean that the aforementioned principles no longer apply to you. I admit that their execution and achieving results will be (much) more challenging.

In the case of younger individuals, the family situation also matters, which is something I spoke of before:

Actual reasons for unsuccessful weight loss

The numbers mentioned in the previous section regarding the prevalence of diseases and genetic disorders that can hinder weight loss are not incredibly precise because there simply isn’t an abundance of data in this area. However, they do help understand that in the vast majority of cases, the lack of weight loss results is not primarily due to the individual’s health condition.

Keeping this in mind, let’s talk about the actual reasons that answer the question of why can’t I lose weight. Not to point fingers or criticize, but to build awareness about the essence of the fundamentals of weight loss.

Recently, the things I have been observing have influenced the structure of this post, where I present the main reason for the lack of weight loss results, something I hadn’t previously considered, as well as the still relevant reasons associated with it.

Deceiving oneself

In a negative sense, one of the consequences of my own weight loss journey, maintaining results, and (in my opinion) constant improvement of my physique is the belief that others who set these goals for themselves will understand the principles of the process in the same way as I do because there’s no room for deception here.

However, as it turns out, human ability and willingness to deceive oneself are underestimated.

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This self-deception is interesting because it doesn’t necessarily mean literal lying to oneself. Often, it takes the form of simplification, superficial treatment of one’s actions.

To better understand this crucial issue, I will refer again to a video I recently watched.

Its main character resorted to emotionally charged statements like, “But I’m not lazy, I go to the gym three times a week, I don’t eat fast food, I don’t drink sugary carbonated drinks, and I still can’t lose weight. It’s not my fault.”

I suspect that the average viewer thinks, “Wow, this person is really in a tough situation and can’t do anything about it.” However, for me, this is a very incomplete piece of information.

To get a better picture of the situation, we should ask questions like:

  • How much time and how intensively do you train during those three days? 
  • What does your training plan look like? What exercises do you perform? 
  • What is your physical activity like outside the gym? 
  • Okay, you don’t eat fast food. So, how does your diet look like? 
  • You don’t drink sugary drinks? Great! What is your sugar intake like from other sources?

My questions are based on the limited information available. I’m sure a more in-depth interview would uncover more irregularities directly affecting the lack of results.

Thinking that simply going to the gym and not eating fast food will solve the problem and generate results is exactly the simplification and self-deception I’m talking about. Such behaviors are a good first step but require further actions.

Lack of quantification

I consider quantification, understood as the most accurate counting of calories, necessary for people who want to lose weight. In a sense, you could simply cut everything you eat in half, which would put you in a calorie deficit, but it would be ineffective and unsustainable, potentially leading to overeating. It’s better to do it gradually.

The lack of quantification seems to be associated with the aforementioned simplification. People don’t want to bother with counting calories, so instead, they start believing in intuitive eating or the effectiveness of a specific diet.

Of course, I can’t read their minds, but I assume that the reluctance to count calories stems from the perception that it’s either a very inconvenient and time-consuming task or something for people with an unhealthy obsession with food. After all, no sane person would count the calories of every single item that goes into their mouth.

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Unfortunately, for people above a certain weight, such behavior is necessary. Counting calories is not required for those who have been able to control their weight and body composition for months or years. It applies to individuals who can consciously eat.

However, all others who want to lose weight but have minimal knowledge of dieting, poor eating habits, and a lack of success in this area should become somewhat obsessed with calories, at least for a period of time.

Lack of consistency

The third reason, but certainly no less important than the others mentioned here. I repeat, you may understand what it takes to lose weight and maintain the results, but if you’re unable to consistently adhere to these principles for a longer period than you think, that knowledge will prove useless.

Implementing this knowledge is a co-dependent yet separate area that requires ongoing effort from you. The advantage is that the principles remain the same, but will you be able to incorporate them into your life indefinitely?

Taking responsibility

I had this reflection that the lack of results in weight loss is often explained by another layer of reasons, pushing away responsibility, and building additional theoretical systems around it.

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However, there comes a point, in my opinion, much sooner than later, when you already know enough about what it takes to effectively lose weight. You simply have to start taking action.

From a mental standpoint, it means taking responsibility for your dietary choices and building strong willpower. This is the elusive aspect that doesn’t make sense to further theorize about. Either you do it or you don’t.

The algorithm is simple, but not easy to execute.

You feel hunger > you decide how to satisfy it > you live with the consequences of that decision, whether they are good or bad.

From observation, I know that many obese individuals are familiar with and understand the principles of effective weight loss. However, they fail at the stage of consistently implementing them. This, in turn, is simply explained as being difficult and/or caused by emotional issues.

Agreed, but that’s another layer, a moment of transferring responsibility. In other words, you start falling into a spiral of “okay, my eating problems are caused by X.” What’s next? Besides addressing the underlying issue, what you need to do to lose weight remains the same. You still have the same work to do.

The peculiarity of the problem is that understanding it doesn’t necessarily bring you closer to the physical resolution of the overarching issue, which is losing weight.

Moreover, getting to the crux of the matter can take years. It’s only in the past three years or so that I feel I have finally understood the root causes of my poor relationship with food, but I resolved the weight loss issue much earlier.


Summarizing the considerations presented in this post, aside from niche cases of individuals whose health profile genuinely hinders weight loss, to achieve results, one must learn the basic principles and then focus on their execution, primarily through making proper dietary choices and using them to positively reinforce strong willpower.

Everything else is noise and sabotage.

The advice I consistently emphasize revolves around calorie counting and consistency in action because I genuinely would like to see a person who maintains a calorie deficit for months and still does not see any results.

Verification of this, apart from accompanying someone around the clock, is practically impossible, which is why we are forced to rely solely on the words of the person claiming to do all the right things and yet cannot lose weight.

At this point, we come back to the issue of self-deception, the direct negative effects of which are compounded by the lack of strict quantification and a lack of strong willpower to adhere to clear principles.

The whole thing encapsulates a sense of powerlessness, a belief in one’s own righteousness (it’s not my fault), and a feeling of failure that not only hinders progress but actually worsens the situation.

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